You went to your healthcare provider with a long list of bothersome and somewhat unusual complaints. Perhaps you were expecting his or her response, or perhaps it was a complete surprise, but now you have been officially diagnosed with one or more mental illnesses or brain disorders. Your provider also likely prescribed one or more medications to treat your disorder or disorders, but the nightmare is only beginning. Assuming that their diagnosis was correct, you are now facing the following challenges:
- You will likely need to take one or more potent brain drugs perhaps for the rest of your life and many of these drugs can have serious side effects.
- Your insurance company, employer, family, friends and countless others will likely sooner or later learn of your mental status. Of course, this brings a whole new layer to your already complicated situation. In street lingo you are now considered officially “crazy” or “nuts” by at least a portion of the population and news of this sort of thing tends to travel like wildfire.
- The drugs you are prescribed often are very slow to work and often are not very effective, leading to a “trial and error” approach to medications and most of these trials will end up in a dead end. Your mental health will likely continue to slowly decline over time.
- Your close family members, coworkers and friends will start to blame your mental disorder for any behavior on your part that they deem to be problematic for any reason.
- Once you have been diagnosed with one traditional mental illness, you are at increased risk of developing more mental illnesses leading to a condition I call “labelitis”. Of course, this also means adding more powerful psychiatric drugs.
- The final word: your life is about to spin completely out of control, and you aren’t in the driver’s seat.
Be Prepared to Challenge Your New Diagnosis
Now for the good news. There’s a very good chance that your health care provider has made an incorrect diagnosis. This twisted tale gets a bit confusing, but for your own sake try to follow my reasoning. Over the past 50-60 years the incidence of common psychiatric disorders began to suddenly dramatically increase for no obvious reason. The experts, medical profession and scientists have been very compulsive about documenting this increase, but to date they have yet to come up with a valid reason or explanation for this tsunami of mental disorders. It seems like today every Tom, Dick and Harry has lost his marbles!
It’s Time to Go Back to the Basics
As a seasoned primary care physician with over 40 years of experience, I have a somewhat different perspective on this mental health mess. As these disorders began to increase years ago, I happened to be measuring the body composition of all of my patients. This era was also the beginnings of our current metabolic tsunami of obesity, metabolic disorder and type 2 diabetes. Because obesity seemed to be driving the bus and obesity is defined as “excessive body fat” relative to other tissues in your body, I decided to measure the body composition of all my patients. Weight and BMI tell you absolutely nothing about what is inside your body so if you want to know whether or not you are truly obese, you need to measure your body composition. Over several decades I took over 18,000 such readings. I also had an interest in neuroscience and brain disorders, so I was very familiar with typical brain dysfunction symptoms. Over the course of many years I noticed these clear trends:
- Brain dysfunction symptoms and the amount of fat in a person’s body seem to highly correlate and they tend to travel in the same direction. If your symptoms get worse you store more fat and if they get better you store less fat.
- I also noticed that the brain dysfunction symptoms always seemed to lead the changes in body fat by at least several weeks or longer, suggesting when it comes to fat storage, the brain usually calls the shots.
- Over time I developed treatments that seemed to suppress these brain dysfunction symptoms and within weeks the amount of fat in my patient’s bodies would start to drop regardless of caloric intake.
- Over time I also noticed that consumption of highly processed food (fake food containing excessive sugar, highly refined carbohydrates and omega 6 fatty acids) seemed to trigger these symptoms.
An Epidemic of Food-Induced Brain Dysfunction
A light bulb suddenly went off and I realized that many cases of so-called mental illness were actually forms of brain dysfunction triggered by eating highly processed food. Using this disease model, I figured out how to prevent, treat and completely reverse this diet-triggered disease that I now call Carbohydrate Associated Reversible Brain syndrome or CARB syndrome. It was also clear to me that many of the 22 symptoms of CARB syndrome overlapped with traditional psychiatric disorders, creating a catastrophic diagnostic and therapeutic mess! My last observation was that people with CARB syndrome seem to store excessive body fat regardless of their caloric intake and they have a strong tendency to develop metabolic problems like obesity and type 2 diabetes. A brain that doesn’t work and a bevy of metabolic problems—not where you want to go!
Follow the Symptoms
Let’s get back to your recent diagnosis of a “mental illness”. How do you know if it is a true traditional mental disorder that has been around since the dawn of mankind or CARB syndrome that only emerged over the past 50-60 years when we suddenly loaded our diet with fake food? It’s relatively simple to do—follow the symptoms. Even though both conditions share some common symptoms, CARB syndrome has a lot more symptoms—a total of 22 such symptoms have been identified to date. Some of these symptoms don’t seem to fit any type of mental disorder or you would have to have a half dozen traditional disorders to come close to covering all 22 symptoms. To make this easier, let’s list all 22 symptoms of CARB syndrome:
- Extremely strong cravings for sweet and starchy food.
- Excessive hunger not related to your nutritional needs.
- Constantly thinking about food and eating.
- Excessive mental and physical fatigue.
- Difficulty concentrating and focusing.
- Poor impulse control.
- Feelings of depression.
- Excessive anxiety.
- Excessive mood swings.
- Lack of proper sensory filtering.
- Low self-esteem.
- Low self-image.
- Loss of cognitive function.
- Lack of empathy.
- Chronic pain.
- Short-term memory problems.
- Internal restlessness and racing thoughts.
- Poor listening skills.
- Obsessive-compulsive tendencies.
- Intestinal symptoms.
- Increased communication lag time (CLT).
The first symptom—having extremely strong cravings for sweet and starchy food, is the hallmark symptom of CARB syndrome and is never seen with classic mental disorders, so if you have such cravings along with some of these other symptoms, you have CARB syndrome, not a true mental illness. Some folks have both CARB syndrome and a true mental illness making things a bit complicated, but for now let’s assume you either have one or the other.
The Six Pillars of Treatment of CARB Syndrome
When it comes to treatment, there is a huge difference between the treatment of CARB syndrome and traditional psychiatric disorders. These are the six pillars of treatment for CARB syndrome:
- Avoid highly processed food at all costs.
- If needed, suppress cravings and improve compliance with certain low dose drugs and targeted supplements like CARB-22. The drugs are some of the same ones used to treat traditional disorders, but they are used in very low doses. For example, a low dose serotonin enhancing drug (like SSRIs) combined with a low dose stimulant.
- These drugs are always combined with a precursor supplement like CARB-22 until your cravings and other symptoms are fully suppressed.
- Get regular physical and mental exercise.
- Obtain adequate restful sleep.
- Focus on developing close and meaningful relationships.
The details of treatment are beyond the scope of this blog post, but will be fully outlined in my upcoming book “Brain Drain”. This book is currently the only detailed account of how you can arrange for you own treatment for CARB syndrome.
Experts Asleep at the Wheel
The experts and medical profession completely missed the disease CARB syndrome and as a result, millions of patients are being treated for the wrong disease with the wrong treatments. Many psychiatric drugs, especially in the high doses that are prescribed for traditional disorders, will make CARB syndrome worse rather than better, especially if they aren’t combined with the six pillars of treatment listed above.
Get the Train Back on the Tracks
Until my book “Brain Drain” is published, there are some simple things you can do to reverse CARB syndrome if that appears to be your illness based on the above information. The first priority is suppressing your strong cravings for sweet and starchy food that are pushing you to consume more of the very food that is frying your brain. I recommend taking the precursor supplement CARB-22 starting with 1 or 2 twice daily on an empty stomach and working your way up to 4 capsules twice daily. I would also throw in the amino acid L-glutamine that is readily available at a health food store or on the Internet. Buy 1,000 mg capsules and take them on an empty stomach 3-4x daily to help suppress these cravings. L-glutamine is safe, cheap and readily available so give it a try. The other pillars of treatment are easy to follow without a lot of guidance except for the use of medications where things get a bit tricky. Focus on the other 5 pillars and my book should be available soon and it is loaded with information on how to obtain and use the right drugs in the right doses if you end up needing drugs for a period of time.
I know this is a lot of new information to throw at you in a short blog post, but an example from the real world my help clear things up. Throughout history major depression has been characterized by loss of appetite and loss of weight. As I write these words I am on the Greek island of Milos and the ancient Greeks referred to this illness as melancholia. For the next several thousand years this definition held up—if you didn’t lose your appetite and lose weight, you simply could not be diagnosed with depression. Over the past 50 years we started to see a lot of folks who seemed to be depressed but they had an increased appetite and weight gain. The geniuses at DSM, the group who defines criteria for mental conditions, didn’t know what to do with this situation so they decided to include both. DSM V now has two subtypes of depression—melancholia (appetite/weight loss depression) and atypical depression (increased appetite/weight gain depression). Even a 7th grade science student knows that if a parameter (like appetite or weight) qualifies you for a diagnosis throughout the spectrum of the parameter, it must be discarded because it can’t possibly help you to make a diagnosis! Even the experts seem to be asleep at the wheel on this one. It is now clear that the group with an increased appetite and weight gain have CARB syndrome, not true major depressive disorder. If you treat them with high dose SSRI medications as you would for true depression, they get much worse over time rather than better.
The great news is if you have CARB syndrome rather than a true mental disorder, your illness is eminently preventable, treatable and reversible. The same cannot be said for traditional mental disorders. Even with so-called effective treatment, you are often left with lingering symptoms and significant disability. If CARB syndrome looks like your illness, follow the above advice until by book “Brain Drain” is available. If you follow the advice in my new book your brain will be as good as new in short order. The choice is yours—years of poor functioning and disability or a bright future with a brain that’s ready to take on the world. If you choose option 2, I’ll be there to help guide you back to optimal health.